The process of "surrendering my life to Christ" is something I've been considering a lot, recently. Originally, I thought that I was supposed to surrender my life to Him... once. One time and that's it and I'm good to go. What I've learned recently, though, is that while my life is His based on that long-ago initial surrender, there are a lot of aspects of my life that I need to continually surrender to Him. Especially when it comes to moving overseas.
This thinking was sparked several weeks ago in an intense moment that caught me off guard. I've been pondering it in my heart and mulling it over and I only just shared these thoughts with Josh a few minutes ago. I began sharing them with him in the matter-of-fact tone that comes with most of my unemotional "new realizations", but as I continued to share this 'heart-thought' (as I call it) I started to cry. I kept pausing as I was talking because the words were getting caught in my throat and I hadn't expected that, but there wasn't anything I could do to stop it (although I attempted by clearing my throat several times). So finally, I let them come. (Tears while I'm talking are always a sign that something about what I'm saying is very truthful deep inside of me). They weren't weepy tears. I just kept talking and they fell down my cheeks.
One at time.
Two at a time.
As I finished talking the tears finished falling and a sense of relief came over me because I had finally put into words what I have been feeling for months. The 'heart-thought' was born in an intense moment that was sandwiched between a symphony of beautiful moments. We spent Labor Day weekend at my parents cottage with four of our very best friends: Nicole & Kenny and Emily & Mike. We had so much fun together playing games, taking pictures, swimming, wake boarding, riding 6 people in our Le Sabre (ohhh yes the front seat is a bench seat. I know, I know... completely awesome!) and being silly in Meijer like we were freshman in high school (Everyone knows the cool thing to do in high school is wreak havoc in the local super market). It was a special weekend and it encompassed everything that I love about the cottage that I have spent every summer at since I was 12.
On our last night, we took the boat out for a midnight cruise. The stars graced the sky and we spent a lot of time chatting and laughing and I even got to play my ukulele a bit. Eventually, it got quiet and we sat in silence looking at the stars and feeling at ease in the presence of friends who love each other. As much as I wished for time to stand still a little bit longer, eventually, this especially special moment came to a slow end as Josh re-started the engine and aimed the boat for shore. Suddenly, I was struck with a deep inner panic. I thought to myself:
"This is the last time I'm going to be in this boat for three entire years. This is the last time I'm going to enjoy this cottage for...
This terrible realization hit me hard and fast and suddenly I found myself trying to remember and absorb every every detail I could. The way the boat rocks on the water. The smell of the gasoline. The feel of a warm blanket and a cold seat. The texture of my lake-wetted, air-dried curly hair. The feeling of satisfaction that always comes after a day of fun and laughing at the lake.
In the same moment of intense awareness of the blessing of the cottage and how much I was going to miss it, the thought immediately following it was a short prayer:
"Lord, I surrender this to You, too. All of it. It's Yours. The boat. The lake. The stories we've written here. It all came from You and I'm giving it back to You. I surrender this to You and I thank You that it was ever mine to give up."
This is what makes it so hard to leave. The surrendering of little things that I thought were mine. Surrendering things that I thought I deserved or experiences that I felt I had a 'right' to. It's a process. And sometimes my tears aren't calm like they were tonight. Sometimes they are hot and uncontrollable and heavy. And sometimes, like tonight, they are resolved and inspired and willing.
I don't think this process of surrender will ever go away. I think the closer I come to God the more I will be aware that my life isn't mine and that He owes me nothing and I owe Him everything. (and that I cannot out-give the Giver of all good things.) So as the time approaches to leave, I will continue surrendering all that is mine, willingly, with the hopes of gaining what can never be lost.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
(My "life verse" I chose several years ago)